How to buy a classic motorcycle in SA?

'There are a few things you need to consider,’ writes bike guru Dries Van der Walt.

Top family cars in SA

Wheels24's Janine Van der Post has gone from a 'SpeedQueen' to a supermom. Check out her list of top family cars.

Reader test: Alfa Romeo 147 GTA

2009-09-11 13:56

Manus Havenga, Gauteng

The Alfa Romeo 147 GTA with its big V6 of 3200cc up in front is an animal of note. The Alfisti will know the performance figures and what this car is about, but for the skeptic it has 184 kW at 6 200 r/min and 300 Nm of torque. Not scared yet - then read further.

Dogs and small children normally stand back or look for safer grounds on start-up and idle. The deep bellowing sound coming from the engine and exhaust at higher engine revolutions is enough to scare little children, but a true petrolhead will feel the blood flow faster through his veins. The sound of this car gives one goose bumps and the feeling of great satisfaction.      

The performance figures of this Italian can not be taken lightly as it is what this car is all about. It has a claimed top speed of 246 km/h, a 0-100km/h figure of 6.3 sec and a power to weight ratio of 135, causing very scary acceleration. Luckily it also has the suspension and brakes to cope with all the power, and of course, any corner that you can throw at it. Climate control, ABS, vehicle dynamic control to keep you out of trouble and a fair Bose sound system are all standard features. What more do you need?

The interior is pleasing to the eye with comfortable black and tan leather seats. The clutch action and steering feel are just right. The Italians put every switch in the right place and the design of the car and engine is driven through passion and love. Even at standstill this car excites and scares some.

Favourite past time

A long winding road is this car’s breakfast, lunch and dinner. My favourite past time is to drive along a mountain pass with the windows down, booting the throttle out of corners, feeling the power of the big six and listening to the sound echoing from the cliffs. It’s like champagne pouring from the sky. 
The GTA is not fond of uneven road surfaces which results in a bumpy ride and when accelerating hard a flashing light on the dashboard and torque steer may become disturbing. It becomes feather light in the back when braking hard from high speeds and it is advisable to keep the front wheels straight under heavy braking otherwise it will bite. Its undercarriage is low and scrapes easily. It does not enjoy bumper to bumper traffic and has a huge turning circle. 

I have experienced that the maintenance cost on Alfas are not too extravagant. If you look after it, it will look after you.

The GTA is not about fuel consumption, which by the way is too scary to mention, resale value and all the other boring stuff. For me, it is all about driver satisfaction, its uniqueness and how it makes me feel when driving into the sunset.

This car is truly something special and definitely a true driver’s car. Every weakness and flaw is forgiven once you hit the road.

Do you have what it takes to write a winning reader road test? Enter our competition and you could win cash or a Garmin GPS!


Inside Wheels24

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.